What is Laver?

Laver is a type of seaweed that grows in the East China Sea around Korea. The world market has discovered laver as a health food thus expanding consumption of it from Asian countries into the Northern Hemisphere.

In Korea, this seaweed is called gim and is comparable to nori in Japan, although gim is slightly thinner than nori; in Wales it is called laver. The national breakfast dish of Wales features the seaweed cooked with sausage and mushrooms on top of toast.

China, Japan, and Korea spearhead the production of laver between November and May of each year. Annual exports exceed $100 million each year ever since laver was first exported to Japan in the 1930s. Seasoned laver makes up roughly two-thirds of the export market, with dried laver being the next highest exported type of seaweed.

Korea’s laver, Joseon laver, grows in thin soft leaves that are easily dried into sheets that may be referred to as “black paper.” Joseon laver is used to make seasoned laver, which makes up the largest portion of the export market. The most fine gim is known as dol-gim, or stone gim, because it is collected from underwater rocks. Laver is available pressed into sheets that can be either smooth or bumpy; these sheets are available in a variety of sizes. In addition to sheets, laver leaves can be compressed and sold in bricks or kept in pieces that are also available flavored and sold as snack packs. Green laver is a mixture of laver and sea lettuce, which can be roasted and eaten with soy sauce. Wild laver is typically roasted and eaten in pieces rather than sheets because of its flavor.